In a step that may mark the beginning of an exit from the hardware market, embattled smartphone manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) is rolling out software that allows enterprise customers to manage and secure iPhone and Android devices using Blackberry technology.
RIM’s new software, called Blackberry Mobile Fusion, is a hardware agnostic evolution of their current Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) technology.
“BlackBerry Mobile Fusion brings together our industry-leading BlackBerry Enterprise Server technology for BlackBerry devices with mobile device management capabilities for iOS and Android devices, all managed from one web-based console,” said Alan Panezic, Vice President, Enterprise Product Management and Marketing at RIM.
While RIM has yet to confirm that Blackberry Mobile Fusion will support the much-loved Blackberry Messenger software, the company promises that the most admired features of BES will be available. Users will be able to create and manage groups of devices, manage user profiles, set and monitor passwords, and remotely lock or wipe lost or stolen devices.
Some of the technology found in Mobile Fusion comes from Ubitexx, which RIM acquired in May. Ubitexx, a German Software Developer, had developed a secure multiplatform mobile device management system, which RIM integrated elements of into Mobile Fusion.
Technology analyst Jeff Kagan believes sees RIM moving into the software services side of business, as this area has been somewhat ignored by the company in the past. Mr. Kagan thinks that since corporations are embracing a diversity of smartphones on their networks, they needed a secure way of managing them, and they expected something from RIM – a name they could trust.
“RIM is fortunate that is has a very special relationship with its corporate customers, but it is unlucky in that they have been unable to transition with the industry. Perhaps this is the first step in the right direction for the company,” concluded Mr. Kagan.
After the announcement, RIM’s shares were up more than 6% to $17.56 in morning trading. The stock had dipped below the $16 mark last week to set a new five-year low, having shed more than 70% of its value since the year began.